The Mormon Worker

by Cory Bushman

The Mormon Worker The true atheist is the one who refuses to see God’s image in the face of their neighbor. –Catholic Worker

If we are crazy, then it is because we refuse to be crazy in the same way that the world has gone crazy. –Peter Maurin (Cofounder of the Catholic Worker movement) Founded in 1933 by Dorothy Day, a Catholic convert and journalist, and Peter Maurin, a French worker and scholar, the Catholic Worker Movement is grounded in a firm belief of the dignity of every human being, as taught in the Sermon on the Mount found in The New Testament. Followers of the Catholic Worker Movement are dedicated to socio-political issues including, but not limited to, nonviolence, prayer, hospitality for the homeless, the anti-war movement, voluntary poverty, racism, justice and economic equality. Day and Maurin formed the Catholic Worker with the hope of bringing about a “new society within the shell of the old, a society in which it will be easier to be good.”

Seven times a year the Catholic Worker publishes a tabloid-size organ by the same name, The Catholic Worker. The publication was first sold in the same year that The Catholic Worker was organized and was sold for a penny a copy at a Communist Party May Day rally in New York City. The Catholic Worker is still in print and the price remains a penny a copy. The Catholic Worker brought awareness to many difficult, but necessary questions, such as: why are there so many poor and abandoned? What is honest work? What is due workers and the unemployed? What is the relationship between political, social and economic democracy, and between these and the common good? Just where are we, where do we want to be and how can we get there? What of means and ends? What does it mean to follow Jesus Christ today? We hope to address some of these same questions in the context of Mormonism. My hope is that the creation and publication of The Mormon Worker mirrors the movement of Day and Maurin, that it will help in bringing about a “new society within the shell of the old, a society in which it will be easier to be good.” We do not wish to change the doctrines of the church, only to create dialogue and discussion on how those sacred doctrines are being incorporated into our lives and if there are more efficient ways of making those doctrines part of our every day lives –which I believe will aid in creating a society where it is easier to be good. Toyohiko Kagawa, a Japanese labour activist, Christian reformer and pacifist once wrote, “I read a book that a man called Christ went about doing good. It is most disconcerting to me to find that I am so easily content with just going about.” We are no longer content with just going about. As lovers of peace, it is our duty to build the kind of society and community that Christ’s Sermon on the Mount outlined. Elder John A. Widtsoe said, “The only way to build a peaceful community is to build men and women who are lovers and makers of peace. Each individual, by that doctrine of Christ and His Church, holds in his own hands the peace of the world.” He went on to say, “That makes me responsible for the peace of the world, and makes you individually responsible for the peace of the world. The responsibility cannot be shifted to someone else. It cannot be placed upon the shoulders of Congress or Parliament, or any other organization of men with governing authority.” (Conference Report, Oct. 1943, p. 113.)

Day and Maurin created a very accessible movement that allowed for any individual, committed to nonviolence, to become part of The Catholic Worker Movement, regardless of their religious beliefs or means. We would like to create this same atmosphere and invite anyone who is interested in being part of The Mormon Worker through written word and discussion to join us.